World’s largest wetland ravaged by wildfires

Animal News : World's largest wetland ravaged by wildfires
Tees burn in the Pantanal, the world's largest wetland, Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil, November 16, 2023, credit: Joedson Alves/Agencia Brasil/Reuters

Wildfires continue to rage in the Brazilian Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland. Local officials report more than 2,300 fires in the first days of November.

Instituto Homem Pantaneiro (IHP), an organization dedicated to protecting the Pantanal ecosystem, shared images of fires blazing through dry grasses and alongside rivers.

Drought and intense heat in the country make the situation worse. The fires started in October and have already destroyed 35,000 hectares.

“The situation is getting worse. The fire is coming from Mato Grosso, with a wind speed of over 40 kilometers per hour. This makes the (fire) fight and preventive actions ineffective,” Angelo Rabelo, the president of IHP, said. “We must prepare ourselves better, especially given the weather conditions ahead.”

Animals in the Pantanal

The Pantanal is home to many animals like jaguars, capybaras, caimans, giant otters, anacondas, tapirs, maned wolves, marsh deer and many species of birds, fish and insects.

“The fires in the Pantanal, at this moment, directly affect the breeding period of the white birds,” IHP said on Friday.

“Weather conditions over the past 30 days have raised the number of hot spots in the region to unprecedented numbers. Our teams currently have 103 soldiers working on firefighting and collaborating with fire prevention initiatives, local fire brigades, and rural landowners for firefighting and wildlife protection efforts,” Tatiane, a chief at Mato Grosso do Sul Firefighters, said.

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